Northern Ireland

Game of Thrones: TV drama 'contributes £110m to NI economy'

Daenerys Targaryen Image copyright Sky Atlantic
Image caption The hit US TV series Game of Thrones is mostly filmed in Northern Ireland and the locations have become tourist attractions for fans of the show

The fantasy adventure TV series Game of Thrones has contributed an estimated £110m to the Northern Ireland economy.

That is according to new figures from Northern Ireland Screen, which has provided production funding for the HBO series.

The programme, some of which is filmed in Northern Ireland, has been nominated for 24 Emmy awards.

Two of those nominations are for Northern Ireland production crew members.

Ronan Hill, who won an Emmy in 2012, has been nominated again for outstanding sound mixing for a drama, while Carla Stronge has been nominated for outstanding casting for a drama.

Image caption Northern Ireland sound mixer Ronan Hill, who won an Emmy award in 2012, has been nominated again ahead of this year's ceremony
Image caption Carla Stronge is a first-time Emmy nominee for her casting work on Game of Thrones

Northern Ireland Screen has invested £12.45m in the series since it began in 2010.

For that investment, it is estimated that £110.7m has been spent on goods and services in the Northern Ireland economy.

Tourist attractions

From 2010-14, Game of Thrones brought in between £21m and £23m a year to Northern Ireland. Those figures have been audited.

In 2014-15, in which series five of Game of Thrones was filmed, NI Screen invested £1.6m in the programme, and the return that created is estimated at £22m.

Game of Thrones is filmed at the Titanic Studios in Belfast, and many other locations across Northern Ireland.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Last year, the Queen was among those who visited the Game of Thrones set in Belfast

Many local companies are involved in providing services when the series is in production, and sites from the show have become tourist attractions.

'Set-jetting phenomenon'

Damian Carr, from Game of Thrones Tours, said fans come from all over the world to visit the filming locations.

"We've had people from North and South America, all over Asia - China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan - and all across Europe.

"We started off running one tour a week; now we're running five."

Image caption Damian Carr, who has been an extra in Game of Thrones, now runs tours of the filming locations used by the TV drama

Richard Williams, chief executive of NI Screen, said Game of Thrones had established Northern Ireland as a world-class location for film and TV production.

"Additionally, films and television programmes have a significant, positive effect on tourism; they contribute to a wider 'branding' of people, society and culture, all of which has a very strong influence on creating a desire to travel.

"There is no doubt that Game of Thrones is spearheading this set-jetting phenomenon and we have made no secret of the fact that we hope the show will do for Northern Ireland what Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand," he said.

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